SBA Launches Veteran Business Program

The agency is combining it's existing eligibility rules with much of the VA application procedure.

Source : Unsplash

July 27, 2022

Author : Alex Bustillos

If you are a veteran or service-disabled personnel of the US armed forces and have branched out to the construction industry, the government has changed how veterans have been bidding for federal and local contracts.

The House and Senate agreed to eliminate SDVOSB self-certification and adopt a government-wide certification requirement while delegating management of the certification process to the SBA. In the past, it was managed by the VA (the US Department of Veteran Affairs).

The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would eventually require government-wide SDVOSB certification and move the Center for Verification and Evaluation to the SBA.

For the most part, the SBA has taken a straightforward approach, combining its existing eligibility rules with much of the VA application procedures.

In July the SBA issued its proposed rule, with comments due by August 5, 2022. So, if you have any questions about the process, please get in touch with the SBA.

The SBA will take over veteran-owned certifications on January 1, 2023 (the Transfer Date), and self-certified SDVOSBS businesses "that submit an application within the one-year grace period will maintain eligibility until SBA makes a final eligibility decision."

So, if you are a self-certified VOSB or SDVOSB, you must file until December 31, 2023.

The key features of the proposed rule are as follows:

  • The SBA is establishing a Veterans Certification Program (Vets Program) to handle SDVOSB and VOSB certifications. The Veterans Certification Program rules will be housed in a new 13 CFR part 128.
  • Participants in the 8(a) Program and Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Program who are owned and controlled by veterans or service-disabled veterans will be granted reciprocity.
  • Firms certified through the VA CVE program will remain certified for the remainder of their three-year eligibility term. The SBA generally adopted the VA's application guidelines, rules on continuing eligibility, program examinations, and program exit procedures.
  • In general, the eligibility rules would be similar to the current SDVOSB ownership and control rules in the SBA's rules.
  • "SBA has not established the policies and procedures for application processing at this time." These specifics will be included in a subsequent rule.

Key changes to the rules are:

  1. Size of Businesses. Small businesses can qualify under any NAICS code under which they presently conduct business, not simply their primary NAICS code. However, the SBA has not yet defined what "currently conducts business activities" means.
  2. Self-Certification for Limited Objectives. Self-certification is still permitted for the limited purpose of counting SDVOSB agency goals. The SBA states: "a self-certified SDVO SBC may be awarded a small business set-aside and the agency may count the award as both a small business and SDVO SBC toward the agency's goals."
  3. Parole Removal. As a matter of responsibility, the SBA "proposes to eliminate consideration of whether a person who is currently jailed, on parole, or probation owns or manages an applicant business." Therefore, the evaluation of a company's good character would be restricted to whether or not it was debarred or suspended.
  4. Rebuttable Presumptions. Intriguingly, the SBA seeks feedback on whether the so-called rebuttable presumptions should be changed. Non-service-disabled veteran people or businesses "rebuttable control" an SDVOSB if they are a service-disabled veteran's current or previous employer or a principal of a current or former company. The SBA has not yet created application processing policies and procedures. These specifics will be revealed in an upcoming rule.

Follow Contractor News for the latest updates on public works construction and the role of veteran-owned businesses.

Category : Disabled Veteran Businesses Veteran Business Diversity Outreach

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